Many large integrated conglomerates companies now focus on implementing coordinated anti-counterfeiting, anti-pilfering strategies across diverse brands and across different regions worldwide. Once viewed as an “extra feature” or superfluous that only meant “added cost” brand owners now realize the importance of attacking the counterfeiters and protecting the brands’ integrity and identity. As technologies continue to evolve, brand protection needs specialized & customized solutions. The tracking and tracing of individual units through the supply chain is also very useful as it enables secure and traceable evidence of authentic products being delivered by the manufacturers and distributors to end users.
Different Solutions for Different End Purpose
Anti-counterfeiting features that can authenticate products are overt and covert or forensic and they serve different objectives. From enabling end users to quickly identify a branded product as genuine, to convert markings to identify the source of diversion or other illicit activity- these serve a wide spectrum of functions these features raise the bar of complexity and offer brand protection if combined with design & production quality controls while manufacturing the authentic product. Thus these extend the widest umbrella of multilayered security features across diverse products.
The various kinds of security employed are:
Overt Security Features: Visible security features serve a valuable purpose in the authentication stack as these offer users a way to authenticate the packaging of any product without any specialized tools. These comprise typically features like holograms, micro-optics and reflective features. As counterfeiters are extremely creative and clever they can get around visible authentication by copying it closely enough to confuse a consumer. Hence, additional security features are imperative.
Covert security features: High security covert features are embedded into labels, seals, and feature in product packaging. Being invisible to the naked eye, they can only be detected using specialized handheld instruments like surface spectrophotometers. The latter employ proprietary excitation and detection optics and detection algorithms for rapid, secure field authentication.
Serialization: In the serialization process, a company usually embeds a customized mark on individual units during the manufacturing project by giving each a unique serial number. The users/ supply chain can identify the same and capture the tracking data, and drop that information. It can be incorporated into a managed database that allows authorized personnel to monitor where products go after they leave the manufacturing facility.
As a brand owner, it’s good to have options as an effective anti-counterfeiting solution contains multiple, layered components. The counterfeiters are also very flexible and have many options. Hence, a combination of covert or overt features or serialization enhance the anti-counterfeiting, anti-diversion strategies.